Backyard Composting is Easy!
Composting is nature's own recycling system. Leaves, grass, and other organic matter that fall to the ground provide a home and food supply for nature's recycler's--bacteria, worms, and other microorganisms. These organisms feed on the plant material, breaking them down, and turning them into a dark, nutrient rich product called Compost.
• improves plant nutrition
• holds moisture in sandy soil
• improves compacted soil
• extends the useful life of our landfills
Compost Rules and Guidelines-PLEASE READ
MATERIALS TO COMPOST:
Tree leaves, sod, grass clippings, hay, straw, weeds, chopped corn stalk or cobs, sawdust, shredded newspaper, wood ashes, hedge clippings, and many kinds of plant refuse from the garden.
Do NOT Add to Compost:
Any food items, raw or cooked (to avoid pest & odor problems)
Weeds gone to seed
Charcoal ashes or briquets
HOW IS IT DONE?
Recipe to Build a Pile
+50% Brown Materials (leaves, hay or straw, dead plants; carbon source)
+25% Green materials (grass clippings)
+25% Soil or compost soil contains microorganism that help to break down materials)
= 100% of a compost pile
Turning your Pile
One of the keys to a successful compost pile to turn the pile from time to time. This helps your pile in a couple of ways:
- Speeds up decomposition
- Can help to alleviate some odors
Turning everyday could be detrimental causing all the heat in the center of the pile to escape. Instead, try turning once week and see how that works.
Using the Finished Product
Finished compost can be used in the following ways:
Add to your garden in the spring or fall. Turn the garden soil and apply a 1-3 inch layer of compost.
Compost can be mixed with either garden soil or potting soil in a 50-50 ratio to use for container gardening. The compost adds nutrients and texture to encourage plant growth.
Compost can also be used as a mulch. Spread compost around any garden plants, under bushes, and around trees. For young plants, a 2-3 inch layer of compost often works well. Mulching helps hold in moisture, reduces weeds, and gradually feeds organic matter to the soil and plant roots. Compost is especially useful as mulch in the hottest, driestperiods of the summer.
The Dept of Public Services has more information sheets on compost. Call 246-3300 for yours today.
Grasscycling or Mulching
Let those grass clippings fall where they may!
Composting sound like too much work? What about bagging clippings during each mow? Grasscycling may be the solution for you!
Letting the grass clippings simply stay on the lawn has proven beneficial in several ways:
- Saves you time and effort
- Reduces the need for fertilizer
- Saves you money
- Protects the environment
The most common myth about grass cycling is that clippings DO NOT cause thatch. Clippings are 85% water and therefore break back down quite easily into your lawn. Thatch is the remains of the woody portions of the grass plants and is often the result of over-fertilizing and excessive watering.
CHOOSING A LAWNMOWER
It is possible that the mower you now own may be used for mulching. Always take to a local dealer to make sure. If the machine is not properly designed, hazards could arise such as flying sticks and stones that could seriously injure you and those around you.
A mulching blade or an adapter hit may be available for your mower for a reasonable cost (under $60 dollars).
Mulching blades differ from regular blades by the longer cutting edge, a feature which allows it to "cut & recut" the grass blades and then redirect the clippings to the lawn, rather than to a bag.
For more information, contact the Public Services Department, 246-3300, or your local lawnmower dealer.